Acts 1:15-17, 21-26 - Making an even dozen

Updated: Apr 19

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In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, "Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus-- for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry. So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us-- one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection." So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place." And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.


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This is the mandatory reading from the Acts of the Apostles for the seventh Sunday of Easter, Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. This will be followed by a reading of Psalm 1, which sings, “They are like trees planted by streams of water, bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; everything they do shall prosper.” An Epistle reading from First John will then follow, which states: “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” Finally, a reading from John’s Gospel will be presented, where Jesus said, “And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”


To begin to understand this reading, one must know the setting. That setting is this: The risen Jesus had appeared to his disciples on the seventh day in the Counting of the Omer, and then again after 6:00 PM when it became the eighth day officially (Monday). Beginning on Tuesday, the ninth day in that count, Jesus entered each of his followers, family, and disciples, where he stayed with them for forty days – the same number of days that Moses stayed with Yahweh on the mountain top. On the forty-ninth day in the Counting of the Omer – a Sabbath – Jesus ascended to heaven and the disciples were left alone to themselves, still not yet filled with the Spirit that would return Jesus’ soul to each of them [a Pentecost happening]. Because “Pentecost” means “Fiftieth, there was only the time between 11:00 AM on the Sabbath and 9:00 AM on Pentecost Sunday for them to hold this election to replace Judas Iscariot. That means the timing of this event told of here took place later on the same day as Jesus’ Ascension.


By realizing this timing, it makes no sense to begin verse 15 [and this reading selection] with the phrase “In those days.” The only “days” possible to consider would be all the forty “days” that Jesus spent within each disciple, because not one day has passed since Jesus appeared to ascend from them. From that realization [and looking at the Greek text], one sees verse 15 begins with a segment of words that leads to a comma mark of separation, with the first word being a capitalized “Kai.” That means it is most important to understand the words that follow.


The beginning segment of verse 15 states this: “Kai en tais hēmerais tautais ,” which importantly states, “in them days these”. The spiritual elevation in meaning cannot possibly be talking about time passed, as the capitalized “Kai” is directly pointing to what has Spiritually occurred “in them,” who are the family, followers, and disciples gathered together after Jesus ascended. What is “in them” is the equivalent of “days,” where “hēmerais” is relative to the plural number of “them,” where within them has come “the period from sunrise to sunset” [Strong’s definition of “hémera”]. That makes “day” be their souls having been given eternal life, as they only are led by the “light of day,” with no darkness again to set within “these.” The word “tautais” then reflects the souls of “them,” who have been promised eternal life after physical death, so “these” souls no longer have doubts or fears, as Yahweh has enlightened “them.”


Following the comma mark that sets that important aspect that must be know is written this: “anastas Petros en mesō tōn adelphōn”. That has been translated above as “Peter stood up among the believers.” In this, “stood up” is a physical statement that takes the liberty to transform a word that means “to raise up, to rise” [Strong’s definition of “anistémi”], with accepted usage implying “I set up; I rise from among (the) dead; I arise, appear” [Strong’s Usage], to give the impression that everyone was lazily sitting about, until Peter decided to stand up and talk. This is not what is being stated.


Whenever such words like “raised” are used, because it is used in holy text describing a character of Yahweh, the meaning must be seen as a statement of Spiritual elevation. As such, Peter’s soul had become “raised,” so if one wants to use the term “stood up,” then that must be seen as secondary in importance. This then leads to this place of “rising” being “in, on, at, by,” and/or “with” [from “en”] all who are present, with all being “in” tune with Peter, “among these” likewise having been with Jesus for forty days. That then leads one to “midst” [from “mesō”], where being “in the middle” of a crowd of people is less important to see than everyone interconnected to the center of Peter’s being [i.e.: his soul].


That makes more sense when the last two words of this segment says “tōn adelphōn” which says “of those brothers.” Here, “of those” [the genitive masculine plural of “ho”] says the souls of all were one “with” Peter’s soul, such that all were equally “raised” like Peter, as he reflected the “midst of those” also. This unity of souls then identifies them as being “brothers,” when that cannot be seen as all having the same father. This is known as a fact, due to verse 13 identifying the male disciples, with James and Judas stated to have been the sons of two different fathers. Therefore, “brothers” needs to be understood.


Last Sunday, in John’s Gospel, Jesus referred to his then calling his disciples “friends.” They were no longer students or pupils and he was no longer the master or rabbi, because the disciples never knew where the next lesson would take them. As “friends,” rooted in the Greek word “philos,” they had become elevated in status. That statement by Jesus has to be seen as a Spiritually uplifted level of being, where Jesus was addressing the souls of his disciples as being where he would return to be joined with them permanently. Because verse 14 mentioned “with women , kai Mary this mother that of Jesus , together with the brothers of him,” this says all were “brothers” Spiritually – men and women. Therefore, verse 15 must be seen as a divinely “raised” soul of Peter becoming the voice for all joined together Spiritually – all as “brothers.”


Following a comma mark separating that “raising” of Peter, the word “eipen” is written, as a one-word statement that leads to a long dash [“---“], which the NRSV has shown as text enclosed in parentheses. The one word says, “brought word.” Following the elevation of Peter’s soul among all who were “brothers” of Jesus [including the women followers], Peter is then clarified as being the voice, as who would “bring word” or “speak” as the leader of the group.


When the NRSV translates the words between two long dashes as saying, “together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons,” this misses some important clues that need more careful observation. The Greek text states, “ēn te ochlos onomatōn epi to auto hōsei hekaton eikosi,” which literally translates to say: “existed also multitude of names on the basis of that same as it were one hundred twenty.”


In this, the verb “ēn” and the personal pronoun “auto” need to be read so this aside has divine importance and is not just unnecessary ‘stuff’ taking up space on paper. The word “ēn” is the “first/third-person singular imperfect indicative of εἰμί (eimí)” [Wiktionary], where “eimí” is a state of being, “I am, I exist.” Whereas the normal translation of this word is as “was,” one gains more depth of meaning by seeing the state of being in the souls of the disciples, now voiced by Peter, is the same state of being that also “existed” in each of the one hundred twenty others. Then, the word “auto,” which translates as “self, he-she-it, the same,” needs to be realized as stating a reflection that these other “selves” [i.e.: souls], saying they were in “the same” state of being as were the disciples. Because of that, they could choose equally from the others, such that the “twelve” number is simply a reflection of one-tenth of the whole that were all “brothers” who had spent forty days with Jesus.


With that understood, following the second long dash is a one-word statement that is the capitalized Greek word “Andres.” That translates as “Men.” The NRSV, in an attempt by the Episcopal Church to show favor that was not written, refuses to define this word as such, preferring to change it completely and state “Friends.” All of that misses the point of capitalization bringing forth divine meaning to the word. Both men and women must be seen as included in Peter’s address, as that includes them in the 120 who were all “the same” in soul state of being. Thus, the divine essence comes when “Andres” is translated as “Human beings,” where the masculine hint says they are all beings of flesh holding a masculine Spirit within.


Following the comma mark, another one-word statement is made, which confirms that needing to be read into “Andres.” That word is “adelphoi,” which means “brothers – a word the Episcopal Church refuses to acknowledge whatsoever. The prior use of “brothers” was translated in verse 15 as “believers.” Again, their intent is to patronize women in the church [they put more into the coffers], rather than understand the truth that “brothers” holds. The term is not meant to reflect upon a male-dominated world of inequality. Instead, "brothers" is meant to be read as all souls [both in male and female bodies of flesh] having a Spiritual bond together, such that all have spent forty days as the home of Jesus’ soul. That makes them all Sons of Yahweh, “brothers” of Jesus, regardless of one’s human gender. Therefore, Peter speaking for the whole group of men and women has just identified they are Spiritual homes for Yahweh, as “Human beings” with saved souls, so they were all [males and females] “brothers” in relationship to Jesus.


Peter then announced: “the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas.” Just the mention of the words “Spirit” and “Holy” says this is not Peter speaking, but the Father speaking through him. Yahweh knows why prophecy was written and which needed to be fulfilled, not Peter the man. Thus, the soul of Peter was “raised” to speak the Word of Yahweh, as it pertained to the group. As such, the whole group knew the truth of what was said.


The literal translation of the Greek text has this spoken: “it was inevitable to have completed that scripture which foretold this Spirit this Holy through eloquence of speech of David concerning Judas.” That is less a remarkable insight Peter had, because he was so smart, and more a common knowledge address that was brought upon them all. It came through the Spirit that made them all be “Set apart by God” [“Hagion”].


The part where David’s psalms were quoted have been skipped over in this reading selection. That means it is not important for the seventh Sunday of Easter to delve deeply into specific prophecy that was fulfilled by Judas’ acts. What is more important is the necessity to replace Judas, after he had removed himself from the group by his actions that had Jesus arrested and then his own self-punishment that kept him from ever returning to the group, forgiven. Thus, Yahweh spoke through Peter’s flesh, telling the group that it was important to maintain a 1:10 ratio, of leaders who served the needs of the whole and the whole who had been “allotted a share in this ministry.”


Verse 21 is then translated by the NRSV as saying, “So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us”. This translation seems to have been modified to make up for missing verses, as it misses the truth of what is written. Verse 21 begins with the capitalized word “Dei,” which gives it divine elevation in meaning. The lower case definition is “it is necessary,” but a less frequent acceptable use is: “it is a duty, what is proper.” Thus, realizing Yahweh is speaking through Peter to all who are likewise in tune with Him, the reminder about prophecy matching recent events says “Duty calls.”


The Greek text of verse 21 then fully states: “Dia oun tōn synelthontōn hemin andrōn , en panti chrono hō eisēlthen kai exēlthen eph’ hēmas ho Kyrios Iēsous”. That literally translates to state [in two segments of words]: “Duty therefore of this having accompanied us men , among all time that came in kai went out on the basis of us that Lord Jesus”. This says the divine sense of “Duty” has always been the driving force within those following Jesus [including Judas], as over “time” disciples were added that “came in” their ranks, one of which was Judas Iscariot. However, the important point to remember is those who “went out” in internship, through the commissions that served the Lord Yahweh, as trainees that were the embodiment of Jesus’ soul in other flesh, sent into ministry. This is then so much more than simply needing to replace a traitor, as it is the “Duty” to maintain the same balance Jesus had orchestrated, through the Mind of Yahweh within him.


Verse 22 then is translated by the NRSV to state: “beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us-- one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.” This is an accurate translation, other than the fact there is not a long dash, but a comma mark separating the last segment of words. In that, it is important to see the word translated as “witness” as coming from the Greek word “martyra.” Because this is still Yahweh speaking through Peter, one needs to see how the “Duty” does not require one who has seen Jesus resurrected with physical eyes, but one who has seen as Jesus resurrected within one’s being. Thus, the requirement that must be met in order to be on the ‘board of disciples’ is one has to have sacrificed self-will and self-ego, so one has been reborn as Jesus.


That is most important to grasp, because there could never be another true bishop [if that is the term to use] in all of Christianity, because no one has seen the resurrected Jesus with physical eyes. Paul would see someone and hear a voice that called his name, who identified himself as Jesus; but if having laid eyes on the resurrected Jesus was a requirement to serve a true Church of Christians [all reborn in the name of Jesus Christ], Christianity would have died a long, long time ago. Being a “witness,” therefore, means being reborn as Jesus; and, that is the definition of a Saint. Christianity was built by Saints, not people who wanted to be in a club or social group.


Verse 23 then says, “So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.” This translation is lacking, as it does not show this verse beginning with the capitalized word “Kai,” showing great importance in the two-word statement “estēsan dyo.” The word “estēsan” simply means “they appointed,” but the root word [“histémi”] means, “to make to stand, to stand,” with implied usage meaning “trans: (a) I make to stand, place, set up, establish, appoint; mid: I place myself, stand, (b) I set in balance, weigh; intrans: (c) I stand, stand by, stand still; met: I stand ready, stand firm, am steadfast.” (Strong’s Definition & Usage) This needs to then be read in the same way “raised” did not means Peter “stood up.” It needs to be seen with the great importance that those “two” nominated to replace Judas “stood out” as the ones to consider.


Since the voice of Yahweh mentioned “from the baptism of John,” that must be understood as the official beginning of Jesus’ ministry. When he met Simon bar Jonah, Jesus told him his name would be “Cephas,” which was Aramaic for “Petros” or “Peter.” This renaming by Jesus must be seen as Yahweh speaking through Jesus, so Simon bar Jonah [Simon son of John] would be known within the group as “the Sone” or “the Rock.” That history needs to be recalled before addressing a similar potential in the naming of “two” who quite importantly “stood out.”


Because we read the first name stated as “Joseph called Barsabbas,” the “Barsabbas” name means “son of Sabbas.” The meaning of that name is “Son Of An Oath.” It is a masculine opposite of the female name Bathsheba, which means “Daughter Of An Oath.” The name “Joseph” means “Increaser” or “He May Add,” but all of those names are stating the disciple before he became a student of Jesus. Most likely, Jesus told him, “You will be called Justus,” a name that means “Just.”


There is no such development of the other name that “stood out,” which was Matthias. That name means “Gift of Yah[weh].” It might be assumed that the lack of name changes says Matthias came with the name his father gave him; and, he was known by Jesus to live up to that name given. In any case, both men must be seen as exemplary in their nominations, with either worthy of a position of responsibility. There was no other meaning behind naming such leaders, as no one of the whole had greater or lesser abilities, as all were souls married to Yahweh.


Verse 24 and 25 becomes a NRSV run-on, where the verse 24 part says, “Then they prayed and said, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which one of these two.” In this, the verse actually begins with the word “kai,” showing the importance of the one word that states, “having prayed.” That makes this not some procedural matter, where it did not matter who was chosen. The “kai” points out the value they placed on one taking on a position of responsibility.


Following that one-word statement, a comma mark leads one to read another one-word statement that says, “they said.” Here, again, is use of the Greek word “eipan,” which was seen before Peter began to speak. This is again a statement of Yahweh coming to them, as a result of prayer, such that just as Peter spoke what they all heard from within, the same “word brought” or divine “command” spoke.


This spoken first is two capitalized words, “Sy Kyrie,” which translates as “You Lord.” This gives the impression of the disciples praying those words, but the capitalization of “Sy” gives a divine elevation to the pronoun “You” that needs to be seen as Yahweh speaking to those who “having prayed” are now “brought word” that identifies them in the second person, a recognition that says the disciples were known by Yahweh. The capitalization of “Kyrie” then says they all have Jesus as their “Lord.”


This then leads to the word “kardiognōsta,” which is a statement of one who knows hearts. In modern terms, we would call this a “cardiologist,” but the symbolism must make a “heart” be relative to a soul. With this word following “Lord,” which means Jesus as the soul who then led their souls and their bodies of flesh, Jesus knew their hearts by coexisting with their souls. The word “pantōn” following says “all,” who were there and were those able to make that claim.


After a comma, the next segment of words states, “proclaim which you have chosen from out of these those two”. This says Yahweh has put it in their hands to decide correctly which of two should take the twelfth position of leadership. Because they [“You”] are all led by Jesus [their “Lord”], they will make the right choice. That is then the final one-word statement, following a comma mark, which says “one.”


The continuation of the NRSV run-on then says, “you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” In this, the use of “kai” needs to be placed before the one-word statement that is “apostleship.” The Greek word “apostolēs” is written, which becomes a statement of importance that is above being a simple disciple.


Again, last Sunday the Gospel reading had Jesus calling his “disciples” his “friends.” In Acts the term “disciples” disappears, as they had all changed into “apostles.” The truth of the word written is less about a title and more about the truth of the word, which states “one sent on a mission” or “one dispatched.” This word then relates one back to the “kai’ introducing the “time” during Jesus’ ministry when the “disciples” were “sent out.” Thus, Judas was one “sent out” with Jesus-given talents; but he chose a selfish end [“go to his own place”] rather than a selfless end that becomes the truth of “apostleship.”


Verse 26 then says, “And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.” While this translation catches the intent of what Luke wrote, it gives the impression that some sort of tool was used tot make this decision, such as rolling dice, bones, or even using a deck of Tarot cards [or some other mystical system].


What should be seen is 120 strips of papyrus given to each person in the upper room; and, then with each having in essence a ballot, a marker of some kind could be passed around, where each one wrote a “I” or a “II” [possibly an “X”] on the ballot, and then folded it an “cast” that into a bowl of some kind. The Greek word “klērous” translates as “lots,” does not need to mean more than saying, “each was allotted an equal vote of one.” In this sense, the response of Yahweh said he was not going to control who the twelfth apostle would be, as any one of the 120 would serve God well, as His Son resurrected. So, a popular vote would suffice.


As a mandatory reading from the Acts of the Apostles during the seventh Sunday of Easter, the message that should be found here is twofold. First, being married to Yahweh and being reborn as His Son, being oneself elevated into Yahweh’s family as an Anointed one, is something that must be seen as a privilege and not something to misuse or mistreat. To be entrusted with a mission from Jesus and sent out with the tools of divinity at one’s use, to betray that trust [faith] means self-ruin. Second, to be married to Yahweh and being reborn as His Son means equality, such that all “Christians” are one church, where all members are equally Jesus reborn and all Sons of Yahweh [regardless of human gender].


In the Easter season, when one has been determined to be married to Yahweh and proved to be His Son reborn, the forty days spent with Jesus - one with one’s soul - is the time to feel comfortable letting Jesus lead your body to do God’s Will. When one ‘comes down from the mountain’ after forty days with Yahweh, it is time to be sent on a mission that does not come to an end. There is no ‘retirement’ from this ministry; and one will love doing the work of Yahweh as long as one has breath left in one's flesh.